A shortage of truckers can impact public safety

by | Aug 1, 2019 | Firm News

People might have heard news about the shortage of truckers that is happening in this country. It really isn’t something new, and it doesn’t appear that it is going to be rectified in the near future. What many of these individuals may not realize is that this issue can have an impact on their safety while on the roads.

While the number of truckers is trending down, the number of loads that need to be hauled is not. In fact, the demand is growing, which poses a problem for trucking companies. When you add in the current demand for rapid transport, including the promise of overnight deliveries, the problem becomes more complex.

Demands placed on truckers

One of the biggest safety factors that comes with the shortage of truckers is that the ones who are on the roads are being pushed to their limits. They are being forced to drive for long hours despite suffering from things like highway hypnosis or fatigue. This is where other people on the road might end up being injured. A trucker who isn’t fully cognizant of what is going on around their rig can cause serious, and even fatal, crashes.

Around 28 percent of current truckers are 55 years old or older. While some argue that truckers should become accustomed to the long hours on the road, they shouldn’t discount the negative impact that aging can have on that ability. It isn’t reasonable to assume that an older trucker would be able to keep up with someone 20 years their junior.

Regulations aim to prevent fatigued trucking

The Hours of Service regulations are one way that the government has tried to boost safety by reducing the rate of fatigued trucking that happens on the nation’s roads. These set a maximum number of hours that the trucker can drive per day. It also sets standards for the number of hours out of service between shifts, as well as the total number of hours that can be driven per rolling seven-day or eight-day periods.

In the past, truckers relied solely on self-reporting of hours through the use of paper logbooks. The industry is moving toward only electronic logs, which removes the self-reporting and relies on GPS and other technologies to track the number of hours in service.

Still, trucking companies might push truckers to drive the entire number of hours allowed by the regulations. This could put a fatigued trucker on the road because they aren’t being empowered to stop when they need to. For victims of trucking crashes that have drowsiness or similar circumstances as contributing factors, seeking compensation might be beneficial financially. It can also draw attention to the atrocities happening in the industry that are leading to public safety issues.